Having noticed the provision to be made for sin, we come next to the great fact of the Incarnation as the foundation of the whole work of atonement. The Lord’s advent in flesh is uniformly set forth as a means for the accomplishment of a great result: not as in itself an end. Thus, in the Lord’s own teaching, He announces that He came down from heaven for the sake of a people given to Him (John 6:39); that He came to save that which was lost (Matt. 18:11); that He came to give His life for others (Mark 10:45). We may represent the relation between God and man in this way. Between the INFINITE GOD, possessed of all holiness and justice, and MAN, a rebel and infected with sin, there is the widest conceivable remove in a moral point of view. What can bring them together? Who can terminate the estrangement? The INCARNATION of the Eternal Son supplies the answer: this fills up the chasm and paves the way to the rectification of man’s relation. But it is equally necessary to meet the wants and cravings of the human spirit, which ever and anon exclaims: What would become of me if my Maker were not my Redeemer? (Is. 54:5).
George Smeaton (1814-1889)
HT: The Old Guys
My best is defective, but through mercy, my hope is built not upon feelings, but upon the atonement and mediation of Jesus.
John Newton (1725 – 1807)
The meaning of the atonement is not to be found in our penitence evoked by the sight of Calvary, but rather in what God did when in Christ on the cross he took our place and bore our sin.
John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 15.
All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and humanity. If we bring got down to our level and raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we trouble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely “hell-deserving sinners,” then and only then does the necessity of the Cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.
John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 111.